How To Work From Home Without Giving Your Cat Up For Adoption, and Other Tips

Nicole Hallberg
3 min readMar 18, 2020


Working from home for the first time ever? *cracks knuckles* my time to shine. I’ve worked from home for six years, and I’m here to help with tips from the veteran self-employed, presented here in the order you will experience them. Please review carefully:

1. You will feel a thrill unlike any other when you conduct a whole video conference without pants on for the first time, but the novelty quickly fades. Wear clothes and be confident in your webcam placement, friends.

2. You will spend the first few days sleeping in until moments before you’re expected to log on, and you should enjoy that snow day feeling, but this is a phase and it will pass. You are used to waking up at 7 and working by 9, so you will do that again soon, but what you don’t yet know is that this is also a phase and will pass. When someone calls and catches you in a dead sleep at 9:45, I promise you do not sound as awake as you think you are making yourself sound, but remember that claiming seasonal allergies let’s you both pretend that you were actually awake. I have suffered from intense colds/allergies/migraines between 10 and 11am for five years, and I would not admit otherwise at gun point.

3. The strange man standing on your porch is your mailman, DO NOT shoot.

4. Your cats are so. much. more. annoying. than you are prepared for. They will stand on your keyboard, they will knock your shit off your desk, they will stick their ass directly into your webcam, they will scream and the person on the phone will assume you are neglecting an infant while you’re trying to swat away 10lbs of furry spite and reconnect your power cord at the same time. It is normal to sometimes hate your cat. If symptoms persist for more than 48hrs, put on a video of birds or buy one of those automatic laser pointer toys. I have one, and I call it the Fuck Off button. I do not have children and so cannot offer advice there. If they are also home with you right now, go with God and may He have mercy on your soul.

5. Your house is SO. MUCH. DIRTIER. in the full daylight than you realize. Accept it now with grace or later with defeat and shame, your choice. You will think that you are not procrastinating because you are scrubbing your tile grout, but you are procrastinating, and you should get back to work.

6. Some of you now have access to free, unlimited coffee during the day for the first time ever. The stages of over-caffeination are as follows: pleasant buzz > unpleasant jitter > > all over body tremor > feeling of invincibility, more work than you’ve ever done before, plans to start a nonprofit and a podcast > slurred speech, violent shuddering, feeling sure that you are actively dying but being weirdly okay with it

7. Time means NOTHING. There are no rules, days of the week are made up, the movement of the sun is a process that you sometimes observe but do not experience as meaningful. Expect a real disillusionment hangover here.

8. The correct ratio to stay on the acceptable side of the razor-thin edge between ‘casual day drinking’ and ‘you should probably go to a meeting’ is one beer after 2pm, and one additional beer if desired not before 4pm, 3pm on a Friday, no more than twice a week. Don’t forget that this means you can still get a late call at 6 and be much more buzzed than you would be if you hadn’t been pre-gaming over your expense reports, DO NOT PICK UP THE PHONE. I promise you you do not hide it as well as you think you do, this is drunken hubris trying to trap you into saying something irredeemably stupid to a work contact.

Good luck, friends! Report back on your successes and your defeats, I want to hear them all.



Nicole Hallberg

Philly freelance blogger. Follow @nickyknacks for the personal stuff and for my work stuff.